Towel Guide: What is GSM?13 November 2012
Here at The Turkish Towel Company we field a lot of questions about GSM, from “What is it?” to “What’s the best for me?” The first question is the easiest to answer, so let’s tackle that one first!
What is GSM?
GSM is short for grams per square meter. All fabrics have a weight, and the standard measurement for the weight and quality of fabrics (including towels) is grams per square meter. This number refers to the density of the towel. High quality Turkish cotton towels are generally heavier and are more absorbent.
Towels can vary anywhere between 300 GSM and 900 GSM. The lower the number, the lighter and thinner the towel. For instance:
300-400 GSM – In this weight, as noted, the towels are lighter and thinner. But, depending on its use, you might want a lower GSM for the gym towel or a kitchen towel. A lightweight, quicker-drying beach towel might be around 350 GSM, for instance.
400-600 GSM – This is a medium weight. This weight is great for beach towels, bath towels, guest towels and so forth. Each consecutive gram weight –400, 500, 600– gets a little heavier, and a little more absorbent.
600-900 GSM – This is a premium, luxury weight. The towel will be denser, heavier, more absorbent. It will probably take a little longer to dry.
Other factors that will influence the towel’s softness and absorbency are: type of cotton, whether the manufacturer uses a polyester blend (as we say here at The Turkish Towel Company “Ixnay on the olyesterpay!”), whether the cotton is a single or double loop, and so on.
Which GSM Weight is Right For Me?
Assuming the towel is made from quality Turkish cotton, what GSM is right for you? That’s a harder question to answer…
For instance, our Lexi towels are 600 GSM. A single loop cotton, they offer good absorbency, and have a slightly shaggier feel to them. This shaggier finish offers a more invigorating experience when drying off. They also dry a little quicker.
On the other hand, the Zenith and Mini Squares lines are 700 GSM and made from double-loop cotton. They are more absorbent, and have a smoother finish. They are incredibly soft, and a very high-end bath product.
So, what GSM is right for you? There are no rights or wrongs here; put seven people in a room, and you will get seven different answers. Anything over 600 GSM becomes a matter of personal taste and lifestyle.